Bayer bill creates flexible school counting standards for new school year

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) has introduced legislation to relax traditional requirements and help make it easier for school districts to count students for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Senate Bill 1062, school districts, public school academies and intermediate districts would be able to use counting amounts equal to their 2019-2020 pupil counts. For the 2020-2021 school year only, school districts would also be allowed to waive the 1,098 hours of instruction currently required by Michigan law, although they will still be required to provide instruction for the mandated 180 days.

“This coming school year is unlike any we’ve seen in the last 100 years,” Sen. Bayer said. “School districts, teachers and families are balancing the health and safety of students and staff while still working to provide a well-rounded education, and we need to provide them with the maximum amount of necessary flexibility and funding to operate safely.”

Michigan has two Count Days every school year — the first Wednesday in October and the second Wednesday in February — that are used to determine how much state aid each school district will receive. Currently, intermediate school districts are relying on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Schools Roadmap, which provides safety protocols for students and staff in light of the pandemic, rather than Count Day guidance and instruction time.

“Whether schools offer in-person instruction, a hybrid of face-to-face and remote instruction, or complete remote schooling, we owe it to Michigan’s students — and our future — to make sure school districts receive the funding they deserve without putting anyone in harm’s way,” Sen. Bayer said. “My bill aims to do just that and take away one worry in what is an incredibly stressful time for school administrators.”

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